Full disclosure: When this image popped up in my social media feed, I was only four months away from being sixty anyway. So, that’s kind of a big cheat: Would I be willing to give up four months to get $50M? The real question is: would I be willing to gamble any time I have left to get the $50M.

There are two ways to look at that. Since I don’t have $50M, I’m going to spend time earning money anyway. If that time is invested in work, I’m not sure what the value of it is toward my quality of life or enjoyment of each day. It may seem wise to skip the work time and take the $50M.

On the other hand, since none of us knows when “our time is up,” isn’t there the possibility that I’d say, “Sure,” to giving up the four months, only to die three months and 29 days in, thereby never getting the money? Or, perhaps worse yet, living the four months, getting the money and then dying the next day? Now, admittedly, I’m sure my widow would enjoy the $50M even after I was gone, but I’d like to believe that she’d rather have me around than the money (Honey, when you read this, if that’s not true, LIE.)

So, we’ve answered the question of the red pill; or at least I’ve given my answer – Nope. I’m good. It’s a nice thought but too many unknowns. Now, about that blue pill…

I’ll avoid the obvious joke about men my age taking blue pills all the time and answer it seriously. Would I restart my life at the age of ten with all of the knowledge I have now? That’s a hard one.

I think everyone’s childhood is a mixed blessing. Childhood is filled with fun, challenges, sadness, those interesting teenage years and more. There are certainly parts of my life between the ages of 10-15 that I wouldn’t want to relive. There are some interesting (and fun) parts of my life between the ages of 14-20 that I’d love to relive. And what I wouldn’t give to be have the health and vigor I enjoyed at the grand old age of 19, fresh out of Military Police school.

The biggest challenge with such a “blessing,” is that we would all inevitably make some different choices. Every one of us can look back and identify some decisions or choices we made that didn’t work out so well in the end. Maybe the negative results of the choice came within minutes, or maybe it took a couple years, but we can identify those choices just the same. In my case, I can identify one that I’d be sorely tempted to change but I can also recognize the circumstances it would change years later… and that change may well cost me my wife. Prior to that potentially HUGE difference in my life, an early choice may cost me my first wife. Everyone thinks, “Well, you got divorced so no big deal, right? But no first marriage, no children from it. Yes, child support sucked but the kids turned out pretty okay and the grandkids are enjoyable as well. If I made a wrong choice, five lives don’t happen.

But what if I could go back, save myself some suffering or challenge and still end up where I am now in a happy long-term marriage with children, grandchildren, etc.? Would I do it? I’m still not sure. The challenges, failures, wrong choices, resulting experiences, etc. all are part of what made me who I am. What if that different me wasn’t the man my wife was attracted to? What if that different me got on a subway train one morning and the train wrecked? What if the different me ended up someplace that, in reality, I never was, and as a result of the differing circumstances I never lived past 25? 30? 35?

The idea of suddenly having lots of money is very cool, but I don’t think I’d trade away any amount of time to get it. Yes, I understand the argument that I trade time at work at least five days a week and I certainly don’t get a $50M paycheck, but I still have the time and the future is unwritten.

The idea of going back to my youth and living a life adjusted by the knowledge and experience I have now is an enticing thought as well. But since there are no guarantees that a different life’s path would result in a better present reality, then what I sacrificed may very well be worth far more than what I gained.

So, in the end… keep your pills. I’m good. I’ll turn sixty soon and not be a millionaire. I’ll keep acting like a ten-year-old sometimes and my wife will giggle at me, my children might be embarrassed or laugh at me. My grandchildren will giggle. In the end, I’ll live my allotted time, extending it all I can for sure, and then move on to the next realm of existence, whatever it may be.

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